There is a kind of revival taking place in the network management industry. It is typified by a more sophisticated, analytical approach to the age-old problems of network performance. It typically isn't device-oriented no using a heavy-handed, top-down methodology with crushing maintenance overhead like yesterday's NMS. Rather, the systems being developed are light, responsive and specific to what applications are actually experiencing.
IP or Route Analytics is part of that revival. The behavior of networks is defined in terms of routing and the related impact on end-to-end path performance. Companies like Packet Design, Ipsum Networks, and Route Science are driving that particular approach.
The products from these companies use passive observation of packet traffic to identify the paths that application traffic would travel and alert network operators (or, maybe one day, routers) if anything should cause that data-path availability to change. In the better products, it supports a level of root-cause determination as well.
This new approach is based on what packets are actually doing, not what some management system assumes that should be doing. And when packet behaviors change, the analysis responds directly to that change.
Network behaviors at Layer 3 offer a wealth of intelligence for network engineers and for devices that need to know how the network is performing in real-time. Routing analytics is part of that equation and provides a topology-centric view on network performance. There are several other keys to end-to-end performance management that are part of this powerful solution – research-oriented companies like mine (Apparent Networks), Network Physics, and Telchemy offer critical aspects of the larger Layer 3 analysis.
You might want to review my white paper "Network Performance Infrastructures: Not your father's NMS."
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